Fri, Dec 24, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Web sites about bondage could hold key to spy’s death, Scotland Yard says

SECRET LIFE:The death of British spy Gareth Williams is not linked to his job, police said. They revealed women’s designer clothes were found in the dead man’s home


Senior British detectives believe the mystery death of the UK spy Gareth Williams will be solved by getting an insight into his private life after they revealed he had visited bondage Web sites and a drag club and had £15,000 (US$23,000) in unworn designer womenswear in his wardrobe.

Williams’s decomposed body was discovered in a padlocked gym bag in his apartment, less than 2km from MI6 (British intelligence) headquarters in London where he was a senior analyst.

Police believe he died a week before the body was discovered, in the early hours of Aug. 16, and that someone else was present. For months they have struggled to answer basic questions about the death. Tests have shown no signs of a struggle or forced entry into the apartment, and no sign that he was drugged.

On Wednesday, Scotland Yard’s detectives gave their best account of Williams’s death. They revealed:

‧ He used his iPhone to visit Web sites about bondage and escape from bondage in the months before his death.

‧ He must have been padlocked into the red North Face gym bag by someone else, as it was impossible for him to have locked himself inside.

‧ Once padlocked in the bag, with the keys inside, he could only have survived for 30 minutes before suffocating.

‧ Police are keen to talk to a couple of Mediterranean appearance who visited his apartment block and claimed to have a key to his apartment weeks before Williams’ death.

‧ Four days before his death, he went to a drag club called Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green, east London, to see an act called Jimmy Woo, and had tickets for two similar performances at a pub in Vauxhall, close to MI6 headquarters.

‧ A witness told police that Williams had been seen at a well-known gay bar in Vauxhall months before his death.

When Williams’ decomposing body was found by police on Aug. 23, they also discovered £15,000 of unworn women’s clothing, wigs and shoes in his wardrobe. The labels included Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Louboutin and were in their original boxes or wrapping paper. Williams had enrolled in two fashion design courses last year and this year at Central Saint Martins College, in Clerkenwell, London.

Speculation has been rife that Williams’ highly secretive work might explain his death. He worked as an expert on codes at the British government’s eavesdropping center in Cheltenham, in the west of England, before moving to MI6 on a second appointment.

However, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard’s homicide command, said: “This is not linked to his work — it’s his private life.”

He said police had been reluctant to make public details of Williams’ private life, knowing it could prove distressing to his family, but were doing so now because his lifestyle could be key to solving whether his death was a sex game gone wrong, manslaughter or murder.

Police called in an expert in surviving in confined spaces, who concluded there was no way Williams could have padlocked himself into the bag. That means that someone must have been present to lock him in. The keys to the ordinary Yale padlock were found inside the gym bag.

Campbell said: “Somebody must have been there to secure him in the bag on a voluntary or involuntary basis. If someone was there and it was a voluntary activity gone wrong, why not cut him free or call an ambulance?”

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